HC Deb 23 October 1992 vol 212 c405W
Mrs. Angela Knight

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish in theOfficial Report a statement on the outcome of the General Affairs Council on 21 September.

Mr. Hurd

I chaired an extraordinary session of the General Affairs Council in New York on 21 September. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs—my right hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Mr. Garel-Jones)—represented the United Kingdom.

The Council met to consider the way forward after the French referendum on the treaty on European union. The Council noted that ratification procedures were well advanced in most member states and agreed the importance of a speedy and successful conclusion of the process, without reopening the present text, on the timing foreseen in article R of the treaty.

The Council welcomed the statement issued on 20 September by Economic and Finance Ministers meeting in Washington. Ministers agreed that the preoccupations which had been expressed in the wider debate in all member states over recent months should be addressed in the future internal and external development of Europe. They welcomed the presidency's decision to convene a special European Council in October to consider these issues.

The Council also welcomed the presidency's determination to make progress on other urgent business, including the completion of the single market and negotiations on the Community's finances.

A copy of the declaration issued by the Council on 21 September has been placed in the Library of the House.